Solving the Air-Ground Dilemma: An Examination of Air Power's Relationship to Ground Operations
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Solving the Air-Ground Dilemma: An Examination of Air Power's Relationship to Ground Operations

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John D. Hall
122 g
246x189x3 mm

This monograph examines the nature of air-ground operations within the context of interdiction and close air support, and their relationship to the Fire Support Coordination Line. The primary research question for this study was whether changes to the current doctrine regarding deep operations and interdiction are required, given the stakes the Army and the Air Force have in the deep battle area. It analyzes the air-ground dilemma by first examining how the relationship between Close Air Support, Battlefield Air Interdiction, and Air Interdiction changed between 1980 and 2000. It then examines the nature of the controversy surrounding Battlefield Air Interdiction and why it was never formally incorporated into Air Force Doctrine. The study also explores the impact the AH-64 Apache Helicopter and the Army Tactical Missile System had on the conduct of air-ground operations, as well as how the placement of the Fire Support Coordination Line affected the relationship between air and ground combat power. Finally, the monograph examines different solutions to the air-ground problem to determine which had the greatest potential. Research confirms that the traditional relationship between Close Air Support and Air Interdiction began to change when the Army developed its AirLand Battle Doctrine. Battlefield Air Interdiction evolved directly out of AirLand Battle doctrine, but the lingering controversy surrounding BAI prevented it from integration into official Air Force doctrine, in spite of its adoption by the Joint staff, the NATO staff, and the Army. Given only partial support within the Air Force, many targets attacked from the air did not have a relationship to ground operations. Thus, air operations in the Persian Gulf were closer to traditional Air Interdiction than the Battlefield Air Interdiction variety land commanders expected. At the same time, the war validated the use of the AH-64 Apache and the Army Tactical Missile System to conduct deep operations autonomou